The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from The Curragh, Newmarket & Haydock Park

The Curragh

Rathasker Stud Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Group 3) 3.15
Castle Star
Fourth in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last year over this course and distance, he should strip fitter for the seasonal reappearance here over an inadequate five furlongs last month. Fozzy Stack is sure to have him readied for this Group 3 contest, and there’s more to come from his Starspangledbanner colt. He’s lined up for a couple of big dates in the diary later this term, so has to be in the mix at this grade

Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) 4.15
Little Big Bear (nb)
A small but very select field for one of the most important juvenile races in the European flat racing calendar. English raiders Persian Force and Bradsell make the trip over for this prestigious prize, while the home team look to have strong hand with course and distance winner Shartash taking on two very smart looking colts from Aidan O’Brien’s powerhouse yard. The stable first jockey chooses Little Big Bear, so that’s good enough for us, though we have backed stablemate Blackbeard on every run this term. It should be between these two, and a great duel is in store

Newmarket

Jewson Sweet Solera Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) 3.40
Ivory Madonna
Progressive this year, backing up a couple of placed efforts with a decent runners-up spot here over six furlongs last month. This Dark Angel grey filly could have more to come, and her third to the exciting Meditate in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot stands up to scrutiny. This extra furlong should be just the ticket, and she looks sure to be in the mix

Time Test Handicap 4.20
Love De Vega
Mark and Charlie Johnston hold the key to this Class 2 handicap with Love De Vega. He made no mistake over course and distance on his seasonal reappearance last week, and can cope with this step up in class. The father and son training team have their string in fine fettle after a good week at Goodwood, and have the ace in the pack here

Haydock Park

Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (Group 3) 3.00
Anmaat
A fascinating race where the two principals, Anmaat and Grocer Jack, bring plenty to the table for this Group 3 prize. The former has been working his way through the ranks, and deserves a crack at some black type, while Grocer Jack has already been thrown into this sort of company since moving to William Haggas’s Somerfield Lodge yard from Waldemar Hickst’s German base. However, Anmaat has not reached his ceiling yet, and with the unflappable Jim Crowley on board can give the hot favourite a run for his money

British Stallion Studs EBF Dick Hearn Stakes (Listed) (Fillies & Mares) 3.35
Oscula (nap)
Noted in this column as the main threat to one of our top picks at Glorious Goodwood, she duly did the business, while our selection Heredia struggled to make an impression, so this time around we’ll have to give her a chance to prove our hunch correct. George Boughey has been all the rage in the last couple of seasons, and has a smart filly in his yard here. Sure to go close in her current mood

The Mandarin

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